Monday, 19 April 2010

Thinking about Process

After an impromptu ' Ashes' dinner on Friday to commiserate with Sue, Peter, Brenda and Hazel who should have been travelling but weren't going anywhere (!) , I was feeling a bit dehydrated on Saturday going to AGM of Contemporary Quilt in Bloomsbury. It was great tho' to catch up with so many people I know ( some just virtually!).
In the afternoon there was a talk by quilt maker Anne Smith who's attitude and philosophy was breath of fresh air. She wasn't a 'name' known to some of us as she doesn't do workshops, enter quilts at FoQ, very little in fact of self promotion apart from this blog/website. She concentrates instead on making large quilts for entry into Biennial Quilt National (THE premier juried art quilt show) and in this she has been very successful, with 5 quilts accepted, her 2009 entry winning best in show.

She works in a very small room in her house( her first slide was of her venerable ironing board!) using recycled clothes in a very painterly way ,treasuring the worn and washed, stitching on tiny pieces to bring immense movement to her quilts ( none of this 'textile' or fibre' definition for her! ) She gave a fascinating insight into how she makes her quilts- the inspiration, the sketches and samples, the constant decision-making process of adjusting as she incorporates different elements. Besides bring along the prize winning quilts and samples (that we were free to handle!) she showed some pieces on slides that 'didn't work'. When I asked why they didn't work for her it was always to do with the composition not being up to scatch - her art background in ceramics and MA in Textiles and Ceramics showing through.
It was a bonus to hear from a Northern lass, coming from very near where I was brought up and knowing my old school which is being demolished this year (I'm returning 'home' for the first time in 15 years for the special 'end of era' reunion associated with it )
A lot of food for thought, the emphasis on process and strength of composition in particular
After a bit of retail therapy in The Bead Shop and London Graphic Centre (essential supplies of course!) I returned to working on my current project with renewed vigour
I'm making a quilt based on Tunisan Doors using African fabrics. Many of these doors have a smaller door cut into them and I'd been struggling with how to interpret this in fabric. After refering to Ruth McDowells book on 'Piecing' (an essential patchwork 'manual' ) I worked out in the sample above (with a few mistakes ripped out and sown again) how to cut out the door and reinsert it Deep breath and then I tackled the main section itself- and it worked!! Very satisfying.
Still quite a way to go on this piece but I can relate to Anne in enjoying the problem-solving aspects and knowing I need to give more consideration to the development of composition.


Connie Rose said...

I love what you're doing there, Mags, and the fabrics you're using. Thanks for the link to Anne Smith -- I've seen her work in the big art quilt books and have always admired it!

neki desu said...

ah composition!
thanks for the link to Anne's blog and her extraordinary work,not your typical quilt here!
the doors series sounds promising